Early Years

During the time that I've to go to my father's office after school, I've to keep myself busy not only with homework but also by drawing. I was in grade school back then and like any child would draw a stick man or my version of sunflower complete with big eyes, button nose and huge smile. Just like the smileys and emojis we have today. I began to devour drawing books, copy cartoons like Sarge and Beetle Bailey, Garfield, Donald Duck and many more of my fave comic and Disney characters. Thus, began my love affair with colored pens, crayons and walls. Uh-oh, did I say walls? I was probably working on an early mural without realizing it.

Humanities has always been an interest and glad that I studied in one of the best universities offering Fine Arts and Architecture. I was planning to but didn't pursue Fine Arts. I ended up pursuing Behavioral Science, another interest of mine. Life happened and I pursued a career in Human Resources, fortunate to be a part of global high-tech and fast paced business outsourcing firms to name a couple of exciting industries I've been with.

Through the years, my interest has always been there but didn't have the time or resources to pursue. Like destiny, I was at the right place at the right time when I saw an invite from Yuchengco Museum to try their classes on Traditional Chinese Watercolor Painting called Shui Mo. This was in late 2010. I was intrigued as I read the bio of my would-be professor who studied under the Master of Birds and Master of Flowers. How is that possible? I wondered why one would master those subjects? After I signed up, I was into a surprise and challenge of my first attempt to paint!

Learning Shui Mo was very challenging. Imagine grinding brilliant pigments, mixing the right amount of water and painting them on delicate rice papers. It's not exactly calligraphy but close to it - sure strokes and controlled hand is a must. Studying the anatomy of a flower or bird, the parts of the bamboos, pine trees, the shape and position of cranes are few of the uniqueness of learning this oriental art. Mirroring the work of the master entails a lot of practice. Now, I understand the discipline and mastery needed! A mistake can cost you your whole composition. Whenever I see a Chinese painting, I can relate to the amount of time, skills, tears and joy in finishing one!